Classic white loaf
Begin your bread-baking journey with this simple white loaf – once you’ve conquered this, you’ll be able to move on to more advanced recipes
- Serves: 1 person
- 500g strong white flour, plus extra for dusting
- 7g sachet fast-action dried yeast
- sunflower oil, for proving
Step 1Tip the flour, yeast and 1 tsp salt into a large bowl and make a well in the middle. Pour in just under 350ml lukewarm water and use your fingers or a wooden spoon to mix the flour mixture and water together – you should have a slightly wet, pillowy, workable dough, so add a splash more water if needed.
Step 2Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for at least 10 mins, or until smooth and elastic. Or, do this in a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook for 3-5 mins. Put the dough in a clean oiled bowl, cover and leave to prove until doubled in size, about 1-2 hrs.
Step 3Heat the oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Knock back the dough by tipping it back onto the floured surface and pushing the air out with the palms of your hands. Form the dough into a ball, transfer to a baking sheet, cover with a clean tea towel and leave to prove again for 40-45 mins, or until roughly doubled in size again.
Step 4Dust the top of the loaf with a little flour and slash a cross into the top with a sharp knife, if you like. Bake for 15 mins, then reduce the heat to 190C/170C fan/gas 5 and bake for 30 mins more until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the underside. Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool completely. Will keep in an airtight container for up to three days or frozen for a month.